02 May 2021

Praying in Lent and Easter 2021:
75, Tsesmes and Platanias

The Easter Vigil outside the Church of Saint Nektarios in Tsesmes, near Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During the Season of Easter this year, I am continuing my theme from Lent, taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship that has been significant in my spiritual life;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

This is Easter Day in the Calendar of the Orthodox Church, and this week is Easter Week. I miss the opportunity of being in Greece at this special time of year, so my photographs this week are from churches in Crete.

My photographs this morning (2 May 2021) are from the Church of Saint Nektarios in Tsesmes and the Church of the Holy Trinity in Platanias, east of Rethymnon. For five years in a row, I have stayed in the suburban areas of Platanias and Tsesmes, east of Rethymnon, and I still hold out of hope being back there later this year.

This area is a mixture of suburban, commercial, and slowly developing tourism. The shops, supermarkets and restaurants cater primarily for the local residents, but there are a number of small hotels and apartment blocks where I have stayed, including La Stella, Varvara’s Diamond and Julia Apartments.

These two villages have merged almost seamlessly, and although they have two churches, they form one parish, served by one priest, Father Dimitrios Tsakpinis.

These churches are recently-built parish churches: the church in Platanias dates from 1959 and the church in Tsesmes from 1979. They are small, and in many ways, unremarkable churches, compared to the older, more historic churches in the old town of Rethymnon.

But when I am in Platanias and Tsesmes, I have seen them as my parish churches, and I have always been welcomed warmly.

The Church of Saint Nektarios in Tsemes, east of Rethymnon (Photograph Patrick Comerford)

John 15: 1-8 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 1 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.’

Inside the Church of Saint Nektarios in Tsesmes on a Sunday morning (Photograph Patrick Comerford)

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (2 May 2021, the Fifth Sunday of Easter) invites us to pray:

Creator God,
help us abide in you,
as you abide in us.
Let us learn from each other,
and from you.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The Church of the Holy Trinity in Platanias, east of Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

The celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Aghia Triada Church in Platanias on a Sunday morning (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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